'He lived his life knowing he was loved deeply' - mourners pay tribute to Sean Ross McGowan
Mourners gathered today to pay tribute to the life of a young boy who passed away this week, after he was left with severe brain damage when he fell into a pond 11 years ago.
Sean Ross Houlihan McGowan was 21 months old when he fell into a pond in Ranelagh Park in Dublin while an outing with Miss Carr’s Children’s Home in 2007.
A passing doctor performed CPR on the toddler after noticing that he wasn't breathing, but Sean was left permanently brain damaged after the incident, suffering from seizures, blindness and heart attacks in recent years.
At 7am on July 24, Sean passed away at the Sunshine Care Home run by LauraLynn Children's Hospice, with his parents by his side.
The chaplain officiating the committal service at the Garden Chapel in Mount Jerome Crematorium today said Sean lived life with "great dignity".
"Despite his great health challenges that he lived with all his life, he lived his life with great dignity, courage and fortitude," Chaplain Thomas Begley said.
Gratitude was expressed to Crumlin Children's Hospital, where Sean spent some of his life, and also LauraLynn Children's Hospice.
"Every life has a purpose, every life has a meaning, and Sean lived his life knowing that he was loved deeply by his mam Rose and John his dad, and by all the staff and his family.
"Not only the staff who cared for him, but dearly loved him and accepted him as he was."
To conclude the ceremony, tribute was paid to Sean's heartbroken family.
"Sean is now with the angels and the saints. We pray for peace for Sean's parents, his sister Lauren and all their family and friends."
'In the Arms of an Angel' was performed at the end of the service and Birdy's 'Keeping Your Head Up' played as the curtains fell across the chapel stage.
Bubbles were offered to mourners leaving the chapel as an uplifting token towards Sean's life.
Speaking with Independent.ie this week, a close family member said the family were devastated by the loss but said it would be a relief for Sean who suffered in pain in recent months.
"In the past three years the epileptic fits became a massive issue and there were issues surrounding his heart," he said.
"He was left in a vegetative state and severely brain damaged. He couldn’t eat or chew. He had about six or seven heart attacks in his life.
"There is a degree of relief that he isn’t in pain but there is devastation at the loss of their child… the challenge is in the next few months in piecing together their lives."